VMware now shipping ACE secure PC environment

EMC Corp. subsidiary VMware Inc. is now shipping the first commercial version of its VMware ACE secure PC environment. Version 1.0 of the product was made available for order on VMware's Web site on Dec. 21, a company spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The software, which was first released in a beta version last September, uses the Palo Alto, California, company's virtual machine technology to create what VMware calls an "assured computing environment " (ACE). This environment can be pre-configured and then installed on Windows-based PCs by IT administrators who want to control the software and devices being used by PCs that they do not themselves manage.

"You can take a DVD containing VMware ACE, install it like an application on Windows XP or Windows 2000, and it gives you a complete, isolated container that you can configure with policies. You can configure it for what peripherals can and can't access it (and) what the interface looks like," said Michael Mullany, VMware's vice present of marketing, speaking at the launch of the ACE beta code in September.

ACE will be useful to companies looking for a way to quickly configure outside PCs, such as those used by contractors or home users, so that they comply with corporate IT policies, said Gordon Haff, an analyst with research company Illuminata Inc., in Nashua, New Hampshire. "You can create virtual machines that meet your policies even without requiring the physical client," Haff said. "This really leverages VMware Workstation in an easier-to-set-up and less expensive way."

More than 1,000 beta users have downloaded beta versions of the software, the spokeswoman said.

The commercial version is now available through VMware's reseller channels and can be purchased through partners such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., she said.

VMware ACE can be purchased on the VMware web site for US$995, which includes management software and four client licenses. Additional client licenses are US$99 each.

Ed Scannell of InfoWorld contributed to this story.

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